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How Viragi Captures the Bold Flavors of Sicily in a Bottle

21 May 2024
by Giadzy
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The small company makes delicious olive oils, sauces, and preserves high up in the Sicilian hills.

Perched high above the beaches and hills of southern Sicily sits the town of Chiaramonte Gulfi, nicknamed the Balcony of Sicily. More than 2,000 feet above sea level, it’s not hard to see where it got its name—when the skies are clear (which they usually are!) you can see all the way to Mount Etna in the north and out to the Mediterranean to the south. 

The town is known for its olive oils made from the local tonda iblea olive. It was this flavorful elixir that Gianluca Gurrieri, Silvano Ragusa, and Giuseppe Vivera, three longtime local friends, wanted to spotlight when they began their company Viragì in 2007. But as time passed and the company grew, they evolved to share more and more of the flavorful foods for which their home on this rocky southern island is known. 

Viragi sundried tomatoes

Today, Viragì not only makes DOP-certified olive oils from its picturesque groves, it contracts with local farmers to provide the tomatoes, vegetables, herbs, and other ingredients to make delicious preserved vegetables and spreads. Their caponata, a beloved Sicilian dish that reflects the melting-pot history of the island and its influences over time from Spain, Greece, and North Africa, is a sweet-and-tangy blend of eggplant, tomato, and capers (another local product!). Even the black olive spread, made with ripe olives from their groves, is boosted with garlic, white wine vinegar, and mint for a bolder blend than you might expect. 

Viragi Sicilian Pesto

In one of Italy’s least affluent regions, where everyday life was historically very difficult, Sicilians have intense pride in their local culture. That melting-pot past has led to stunning art and architecture styles unlike anywhere else in Italy, and bold flavors that sing of the spices that once traveled here from across the Mediterranean. There’s a lot to be proud of! Viragì is dedicated to sharing those traditional foods, like in their Sicilian pesto made with local sheep’s milk cheese, without compromise.  

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